We reported a while back that a source had informed us that Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Weslye Saunders tested positive for the banned substance Adderall and that was the reason he was suspended for the first four games of 2012 season. Saunders has now confirmed that report himself via Twitter as he posted in response to a follower of his asking why he didn\’t know it the drug was illegal. Saunders response was, “lolll —cuz my 11 yr old brother takes it. Had no clue”
— Weslye Saunders (@Wes_Saunders88) April 12, 2012
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Adderall is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine is used as part of a treatment program to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; more difficulty focusing, controlling actions, and remaining still or quiet than other people who are the same age) in adults and children. Dextroamphetamine and amphetamine tablets are also used to treat narcolepsy (a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep). The combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine is in a class of medications called central nervous system stimulants. It works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain.
Quite a few people have been known to use Adderall to keep them awake on long drives and as a way to lose weight as well. Possession of the drug requires a prescription, which one could speculate that Saunders\’ younger brother indeed has. It is unknown why Saunders was taking the drug, but it does not matter at this point. He would have needed to have it cleared with the league prior to taking it drug. While it was likely an honest mistake, it is one that can\’t be reversed and thus Saunders must now sit out the first four games of the 2012 season, assuming he makes the roster.
The Steelers signed veteran tight end Leonard Pope to the roster earlier this week and they could indeed address the position at some point during the draft as well. They have already had two tight ends make pre draft visits this month and there could be more on the way. Saunders will be able to take part in OTA sessions, training camp and preseason games prior to his suspension starting. Should the Steelers decide to keep him, he will placed on the reserve suspended list to start the season and will not count against the 53 man roster as a result. He is 2012 salary cap charge of $466,333.00 will stick even if he is placed on the suspended list to start the season. (((CORRECTION))) [[I believe only the prorated signing bonus portion of Saunders contract will count against the salary cap in 2012 while suspended, not the base salary portion per CBA.]]
Saunders was signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent after the lockout ended last offseason and made the 53 man roster out of training camp. He played in all 16 regular season games for the Steelers last season and logged nearly 250 snaps on offense, mostly in three tight end packages. He was targeted 7 times in the passing game and recorded 4 catches for 29 yards to go along with 1 touchdown catch.